Lawyer Gets More Than Three Years In Prison For Embezzling $500K from Tech Startup

A Texas lawyer was sentenced to 37 months in prison, ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for wire fraud charges and give up her law license for a scheme to embezzle funds from her former employer.

The victimized company, based in San Francisco, was not identified in court papers.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Craig D. Fair announced the March 16 sentence by U.S. District Judge James Donato against Brooke Campbell Solis, 51, of Austin, Texas.

Solis pleaded guilty to the charges last August. She began serving her prison term today, March 21.

According to the plea agreement, in January of 2018, Solis was an attorney licensed to practice law in California when she was hired by a San Francisco-based financial technology company as its general counsel.

For most of her employment, she was permitted to work remotely from her home in Austin, Texas, where she managed the legal, financial and accounting practices for the company. She later was given “Super Administrative” privileges within the accounting and expense management programs used by her employer.

According to the plea agreement, Solis acknowledged that she used these privileges to defraud her former employer and embezzle money from the company, which was not identified.

One method Solis admitted she used to defraud her former employer was by preparing and using fraudulent invoices.  Specifically, she requested payment from the employer to a shell company, The Paralegal Group LLC, that she created and controlled.  In June 2019, Solis entered into a consulting agreement between The Paralegal Group and her employer. On the same day that Solis signed the consulting agreement—both on behalf of herself as The Paralegal Group and for her employer—Solis also submitted an invoice for $9,222.50 from The Paralegal Group.  The invoice was dated May 31, 2019, before the consulting agreement even came into existence.

Another method Solis used to defraud her former employer was to seek reimbursement for fraudulent expenses.  For example, on July 24, 2019, two days after ending her employment with her former employer, Solis submitted a personal expense of $4,575, for 61 days of “Jackson and Oliver boarding” at a dog boarding company. In the plea agreement, Solis admitted that the boarding of the dogs was a personal expense.

Solis also continued to defraud the company after she left, said prosecutors. She was charged with and pleaded guilty to four wire fraud transactions, in which she diverted at least $400,000 of the company’s money to her own personal checking account nearly two months after her employment ended.  In total, Solis stole more than $500, 000 from the victim company.


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